OPPOSITION political parties and civic society have described the death of MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured) as a huge blow to the struggle for democracy and human rights in the country.
BY SILAS NKALA
Tsvangirai died on Wednesday at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre in South Africa, after battling colon cancer for nearly two years.
He publicly announced that he was diagnosed with colon cancer sometime in 2016.
The late former Prime Minister and trade unionist led the main opposition party, MDC, since its inception in 1999.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa yesterday said his party learnt with sadness the passing-on of Tsvangirai after a brave fight against cancer.
“Tsvangirai will be remembered for reigniting the struggle for democracy flame in Zimbabwe in 2000 after it had died down in 1987 when Zapu was arm-twisted into the notorious and infamous Unity Accord of 1987,” he said.
“Tsvangirai presented a fierce challenge to Zanu PF de facto one-party State rule, presenting close-shave election challenges to Robert Mugabe’s Presidency on a number of occasions. He was at one time Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister in a power-sharing unity government between Zanu PF and MDCs despite him having won the preceding 2008 elections.”
Tsvangirai served as Prime Minister of the coalition government between 2009 and 2013.
Maphosa said Tsvangirai would be most remembered for his boldness and courage in tackling Africa’s most ruthless dictatorship and the determination that pushed him to achieve democracy in Zimbabwe.
During Mugabe’s tenure, Tsvangirai was arrested for treason and tortured by State security agents.
“Zapu joins the Tsvangirai family, the Macheka family, the MDC-T and the nation at large in mourning the pro-democracy leader. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.
#This Constitution leader Abigail Mupambi said Tsvangirai took the nation from political bondage of the Mugabe administration.
“We talk of political freedom which saw the sprouting of opposition parties, labour, freedom of expression, constitutionalism efforts can be credited to him. What is left now is for all the democratic and progressive forces to push through the agenda he set and finish it,” she said.
MDC deputy spokesperson Mbuso Siso said the MDC Alliance was devastated by the death of an icon of peace and democracy and he would be remembered as a politician who defeated Zanu PF in the 2008 elections.
“As we mourn the passing-on of a great leader, he will also be remembered for his commitment to change the lives of Zimbabweans, a mission unaccomplished,” Siso said.
Tsvangirai was MDC Alliance presidential candidate at the time of his death.
MDC-T Matabeleleland South spokesperson Ekem Moyo said: “We are in the darkest political path of our lives after the death of our one and only iconic leader, president Tsvangirai . . . Our symbol of hope and resistance is no more. We all remember his dream to see all of us out of slavery through the sacrifices he made to face the once feared and fierce Zanu PF regime and Robert Mugabe.
“He remains our hero and icon, his love for democracy and Zimbabwe is known the world over. As Mat South, we will remain united in the pursuit of our shining beacon’s wish for a better life for all.”
MDC-T Bulawayo spokesperson Felix Mafa Sibanda said Bulawayo was devastated by the death of the MDC’s founding leader.
“Bulawayo executive and all people of Bulawayo in particular and Zimbabweans in general are dumfounded and highly devastated by the passing-on of president Tsvangirai, one of the gallant sons of the soil. We as the executive and all MDC structures feel orphaned and, therefore, pray for unquestionable tranquility, peace, and unity of purpose at this darkest moment of our party history, the Movement for Democratic Change, (MDC),” he said.
“We extend our most humane condolences to his immediate family, wife Elizabeth, mother, children, and grandchildren and close afield relatives. We also extend the same to the labour movements of Zimbabwe and abroad, to all Zimbabwean political formations, churches, student movements, women organisations, children’s homes youths entities, business, economic and captains of industries/commerce, vending enterprises and all Zimbabweans across political divide and faiths.”
National People’s Party (NPP) national spokesperson Jeffryson Chitando said his leader Joice Mujuru and the party supporters were shocked by Tsvangirai’s death.
“Tsvangirai will forever be remembered for his dedication, patriotism and sacrifice for this country. As NPP, we have lost a friend, comrade and partner in the struggle for a democratic Zimbabwe. In 2017, Tsvangirai graced the NPP inaugural convention as a show of his political willingness to work together for the betterment of Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Zimbabwe has lost an icon, a selfless democrat. In 2008, after defeating Robert Mugabe in the first round of elections, he accepted to take a lesser post of Prime Minister in a government of national unity in order to serve Zimbabwe. Tsvangirai leaves a legacy of commitment to defend human rights, selflessness, hardworking, patriotism, love and humility.”
“As NPP family, we say rest in peace Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai. You are a true hero. It does not need a political party to decide your hero status, but the people of Zimbabwe know that you are a true hero.”
Mpopoma resident Bekithemba Nyathi said Zimbabwe had lost a soldier, an icon and a champion for democracy.
“He had his faults as a human being, but his contribution is beyond any fault,” he said.